Mini Season 4 Power Rankings / Team Reviews — Part 2, Post-Groups

With the group stage wrapped up, we have a clearer view of the strength of the teams, despite it only being a 3-series group stage. As promised, I’ll also be analyzing some stats by our very own mini admin Linail.

The Economics of Auction Draft

How much does MMR really matter? Linail’s first contribution to this article visualizes the spread of player value in comparison to what is expected, and it reveals an interesting trend in the transition from season 3 of Mini to season 4. Namely, with the green and blue dots representing picks in S3 and S4 respectively, the first and possibly most staggering fact is just how many players were bought for more coins than expected, with most of them coming from the low to mid 5k range. This could perhaps suggest that, with somewhat more experienced captains, more focus was put on the actual perceived skill level of a player, rather than just using their MMR as a sole metric. The highest MMR — and most expensive pick — Glete was bought for 102 coins, in comparison to last seasons 69, a difference of 33. Overall, this could show a trend towards drafting around the players themselves, rather than the numbers attached to them — but admittedly, one can’t exclude the possibility that some values are inflated by overbidding. Still, captains are seemingly more focused on what’s best for their team, rather than the sole achievement of drafting a team that’s good value.

A Look at Group A

Group A brought us one big shocker, and that is undoubtedly the success of KTZ’s team. Despite being unanimously chosen as the worst team of the entire mini, they’ve managed to win two series, ending up in 2nd place in their group. Still, group A was overall quite balanced, with most teams able to get at least a point off their opponents. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, and break it down team by team.

4th Place — Myst

Record: 1–2 vs KTZ, 1–2 vs Sitham, 2–1 vs Waterfalls

A team that was ranked high by some (cough Denden cough) and lower by others, Myst’s team was unfortunate enough to go to three games in all of their series, winning one and losing two. It’s still hard to shake the thought that this is just an average-ish team, which, despite consisting of players who were drafted for a good amount of coins, with all of them sitting below the expected equilibrium in Linail’s dataset, struggles to close out the games. With a heavy reliance on Denden carrying the games, Myst’s team ended up 4th in their group, but it’s hard to completely dismiss them as their overall performance showed they can win games, with an upset against Waterfalls (though they did have a standin for Nyk in these games). Still, they can take games off good teams — but can they start winning these series? We’ll see as they go against the 1st place of group B, Waloo.

3rd Place — Sitham

Record: 0–2 vs Waterfalls, 2–1 vs Myst, 1–2 vs KTZ

Another team predicted to be middle of the pack, and another team that has justified these rankings through their performance, Sitham’s team seems to lack consistency despite having the star power. A team of three 0 coin players, Glete and captain Sitham has potential, but thus far it’s been untapped at best and wasted at worst, and one might attribute their very mixed results to a lack of gameplans going into series.

2nd Place — KTZ

Record: 2–1 vs Myst, 1–2 vs Waterfalls, 2–1 vs Sitham

The dark horse of group A, this teams performance shows us a couple of things. First of all, Ayano isn’t nearly as dogshit as the community would have you believe, showing up in an impressive way on heavy farming cores. Second, ElNino is really good, and his synergy and history with KTZ might just make the amount spent on him worth it. Well, probably not, but still, with 2 series wins, KTZ’s team has been very surprising and it’ll be interesting to see if they continue to do so.

1st Place — Waterfalls

Record: 2–0 vs Sitham, 2–1 vs KTZ, 1–2 vs Myst

Despite a surprising game dropped to Myst, Waterfalls’ team has performed as expected, topping the group with 5 total match wins. There’s not much to say about this team, as they’ve done pretty well — bar the loss to Myst. The true value of this team in comparison to many others, especially in such a balanced mini, is illustrated pretty well by the differences in prices for players who played both S3 and are now in S4, once again provided by Linail.

Waterfalls managed to snag Sucker for 55 coins — 10 less than in the previous season, Cvaekt for 16 — only 1 more than the previous 15, still low for a high tier mid player, and a bargain with Crispy Bacon, saving 19 coins as he went from 36 to 17. Overall, this is a very balanced team, and all they need to do to have a good shot at winning is maintaining consistency.

Exposing the Economist

We once again revisit Linail’s first graph, but this time the blue dots are replaced by the captains who picked the players shown. Crayon, KTZ and Polarbear overpaid the most for their players, joined by huge outlier Booty because he spent 39 on last pick Marta. Following the predicted value expectation plotted by Linail almost exactly, Waterfalls proves once again to have drafted a seriously balanced team, not overpaying for any of them, despite the high average MMR. Booty, Waloo and Myst managed to snag many players below the market price, and Polarbear and Sitham’s players hang out at the lowest spending amounts, with multiple exactly on or very close to the 0 coin mark.

Beyond Group B

Once again suggesting that this is a very balanced mini season, the spread of matchpoints in group B is identical to that of group A, and the teams are similarly close.

4th Place — Polarbear

Record: 0–2 vs Crayon, 0–2 vs Booty (FF), 2–0 vs Waloo

Polarbear’s team remains quite hard to analyze, with a dual signup and only 2 series played as the team forfeited vs Booty. Their played games are pretty baffling, though — sweeping the 1st place Waloo team and getting swept by an okay-at-best Crayon team, it’s hard to predict what this team is and isn’t capable of, but you can be sure that we’ll get the answer to that question, as they face Waterfalls in the first round of playoffs. One has to wonder about the possible atmosphere issues with the 2nd series forfeit, but considering they bounced back for the final group game, it shouldn’t be an issue.

3rd Place — Crayon

Record: 2–0 vs Polarbear, 0–2 vs Waloo, 1–2 vs Booty

With only one win more than Polarbear’s team, Crayon and his team managed to secure the third place in the group, as they continue to struggle with their role allocation. Omegasaw moved to the mid role as they got a standin for Helix in their final group stage series, Crayon drafted an abhorrent Techies Tinker lineup, but at the end, they still lost to Booty. This team seems to have taken a meme approach and it’s hard to blame them, as the short mini season doesn’t allow for much adjustment in the role setup. Expectations for the team are overall low, but as they go up against KTZ in the first round, one can’t disregard the individual skill of the players on the team.

2nd Place — Booty Lizard

Record: 1–2 vs Waloo, 2–0 vs Polarbear (FF), 2–1 vs Crayon

One of the best teams on paper, it would seem that it is possible to translate that theory to practice, as the trio of experienced and high MMR players consisting of Booty, Nsphere and Roran puts in good work, managing to carry the heft Marta and myself add to the team. Still, it’s too early to judge, as with the dropped series to a Waloo team joined by Amos, and one less series than other teams because of Polarbear’s FF, we still haven’t seen what the team is capable of. At the end of the day, it’s made up of some excellent players and myself, so you never know what might happen in the title race.

1st Place — Waloo

Record: 2–1 vs Booty, 2–0 vs Crayon, 0–2 vs Polarbear

After a strong start with beating one of the favorites (albeit with a strong standin), Waloo’s team kept going and swept Crayon 2–0 before ultimately succumbing to…Polarbear. In a 2–0. With Crayon’s team not being a strong contender and them losing to a lower ranked team when they had their actual roster, it’s tough to say that the first place is very well deserved, but if I’ve learned anything from season 16, it’s that it’s very easy to underrate Waloo.

Power Rankings 2.0

With the groups analyzed, it’s time to update the power rankings.

#8 — Crayon

Shift: -5

The hardest drop on the list, I can’t help but look back at my original comment on this team:

They might win every game in a sweeping 2–0, they might crash and burn and drag their feet defying the impending disband, and I wouldn’t be that surprised by either. It’s a team that’s very hard to judge, and it’s the placement I’m least sure about. If they win, keep them here, if they lose, imagine I put them at like 6 or some shit.

Turns out, I’d put them dead last, not 6th, as their single win happened to be against another below average team, and them being 3rd due to head-to-head isn’t enough to convince me that this team can take games off more serious teams. As they eschew fixing their role setup, instead opting to just pick Techies, I don’t think this team is very good — though I will note that they could probably win the series against KTZ.

#7 — Myst

Shift: -1

Another team that I remain utterly unconvinced by, their one significant series came when they had a standin for Nyk, cementing their status as one of the bottom teams, as I don’t think they have a shot at the title. Denden is performing well, but with Wewlad not being the space creator Denden would like — and with the occasional throw — this team remains in the bottom half.

#6 — Sitham

Shift: -1

With their only series win coming in the form of a 2–1 against Myst, I don’t see this team gunning for top spots, despite the star power of Glete and Sitham. As it turns out, it’s important for teams to be balanced, as otherwise inconsistency will plague even the best of players — and this team is a perfect example.

#5 — KTZ

Shift: +3

The surprise of the group stage, KTZ’s team managed to win 2 series, losing 2–1 to the first place team, as Ayano and ElNino — alongside the rest of the team — stepped up in a significant way. It does help that they avoided the liability that is Kimer in their final series, but either way, their performance so far has been quite convincing. In the back of my mind, I’ll still look at this team and think it’s mediocre at best, but their play speaks for itself.

#4 — Waloo

Shift: +3

A big jump up in the power rankings, this is one of the more arguable placements — and you can argue that they could be both lower and higher. Considering that they had Amos standin for 3 of their 4 wins, it’s hard to say if they’re anywhere near as good with their actual roster, which would suggest they should be lower. Then again, finishing first in their group merits some praise, but overall, while this team does seem to be a bit better than I originally anticipated, #4 might just be a bit too high. Guess we’ll see, huh?

#3 — Polarbear

Shift: +1

This might raise some brows, but hear me out. This team lost their first series 2–0, but they had a standin both games. Then they forfeited week two. Then, in week 3, when they had their full actual roster together, they swept the first place team in their group in a clean 2–0. This, to me, suggests that this team is much better than their group placement might indicate, and they’re definitely a threat…provided they keep playing with their actual roster.

#2 — Booty Lizard

Shift: 0

Full disclosure, had we actually played our second series, rather than getting an FF, I’d have probably put our team at #1. However, with a close loss against Waloo and our other series being a win against the unconvincing Crayon team, I don’t feel like that’d be warranted. Still, I genuinely do think it’s a very strong team, especially as Nsphere, Booty and Roran get more comfortable playing together and microing the family dogs, I still consider us strong contenders.

#1 — Waterfalls

Shift: 0

With 2 series won and one dropped when they were missing a player, I can’t see the argument for dropping Waterfalls lower on the list. Provided they keep going and have no more roster issues, they’re the other strong contender for the mini, with a very strong, balanced team.

The Predictions

With the power rankings wrapped up, all that’s left is to look at the matchups for the first round of playoffs.

Waterfalls vs Polarbear: 2–1

I think Polarbear’s team is very strong with their full roster, but ending last in groups has doomed them to face Waterfalls in the first round, and with that I predict that the de facto favorites win the series — though with a dropped game.

Sitham vs Booty: 0–2

Teams with a heavy reliance on one player to perform tend to struggle against teams whose strengths lie in their playmakers, which is definitely the case with our team. I’d like to imagine me missing this game will make it harder for my team, but god knows that the opposite is more likely.

Crayon vs KTZ: 1–2

The individual skill levels of Crayon’s team should be enough to take a game off KTZ, but the teamplay of KTZ’s team convinces me that they’ll be the ones winning the series.

Waloo vs Myst: 2–1

A series which could easily go either way, I believe Waloo’s team will be likelier to capitalize on mistakes made by Myst and his teammates, hence a 2–1.

Thanks for reading, pls no flame

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Madsen

Madsen

Clarity League Content Writer | Main Over at medium.com/@Maadsen | Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/madsen03